Helping youth to become leaders

By learning leadership skills and then putting them to practice, young people can develop a sense of responsibility that will last a lifetime, said Ardeth G. Kapp, Young Women general president.

To help the young women of the Church in their leadership roles, a new Young Women Leadership Guidebook is now available, Sister Kapp said."It's the responsibility of the adult leaders to help youth become effective leaders, but many times the adults have not had the experience or do not have the skills as well developed as they would like," she added.

"We now have the Young Women Leadership Guidebook as a tool that can be used as a reference as well as a guide to teach youth how to develop leadership skills and how to become effective leaders in their particular callings."

Elder James M. Paramore of the Presidency of the Seventy and priesthood adviser to the Young Women program, said, "We live in a time when it is extremely important that we develop our youth leaders. We live in a world of peer influence and we need to keep our youth leaders knowledgable and trained on how to strengthen their associates – the other youth of the Church.

"The suggestions in the guide will help them learn how to relate to other youth, how to lead discussions, how to strengthen relationships and how to develop skills that are needed," he related. "It will help them to focus on the spiritual aspects that can really bless the young people, like seeking the Spirit, the importance of the scriptures, the importance of personal prayer and worthiness and the paramount importance of individual accountability."

The book includes 24 lessons, many that focus on ministering to others such as assessing individual needs and fellowshipping less-active class members. Administrative skills, such as using an agenda or delegating, are also included.

Each lesson, outlined on a single page, is built on a principle of the gospel with scriptural references to support the lesson being taught, said Carolyn Rasmus, Young Women administrative assistant and a general board member. The format includes a statement of purpose, goals, several steps that are to be followed, and then suggests application to life and follow-up.

"We think that this will be of great help to adult leaders as well as youth leaders in the developing nations where members haven't had a lot of leadership experiences, particularly in the Church," Sister Rasmus said.

The guidebook appendix includes a short history of the founding of the Young Women organization .

"The brief review of the Young Women's history is included so that it might readily be available for reference, particularly as young women celebrate the anniversary each year," Sister Kapp said.

"We have faith in the youth of the Church and the fact that they can be strong when they are trained," said Jayne Malan, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency. "This guidebook helps set a spiritual base for the callings. The lessons set the tone and mood for the kind of leadership that is effective."

Sister Malan added, "We feel the youth of the Church are one of the greatest untapped resources in building the kingdom and when they are trained and given an opportunity to have responsibility, miracles can happen because of that."

"The principles taught in this guidebook are applicable at all levels of leadership," Elder Paramore said. "This will be a tremendous aid in the Young Womens' program."